A few days ago I received a call from a man I recently met named George. He was a bit flustered, and soon informed me that his young son was sick with a chest condition. He pleaded with me to send him $1,000 to cover the medical bills. Since George was at the hospital I asked him to let me speak to a nurse, and she confirmed that George’s son was indeed ill. So I agreed to send George the money through Western Union. He was profusely grateful. But before I hung up I asked George, “Why are you coming to me?” He said, “I have no one else to ask.” Then he said something that astounded me, “Dinesh, you are like a brother to me.”
Actually, George has a real life brother who just happens to be the president of the United States. (George Obama is the youngest of eight children sired by Barack Obama Sr.) George’s brother is a multimillionaire and the most powerful man in the world. Moreover, George’s brother has framed his re-election campaign around the “fair share” theme that we owe obligations to those who are less fortunate.
One of Obama’s favorite phrases comes right out of the Bible: “We are our brother’s keeper.” Yet he has not contributed a penny to help his own brother. And evidently George does not believe, even in times of emergency, that he can turn to his brother in the White House for help.
So much for spreading the wealth around.
Obama’s refusal to help George is especially surprising because George doesn’t just live in American-style poverty but rather in Third World poverty. He lives in a shanty in the Huruma slum in Nairobi. He gets by on a few dollars a month. Obama also has an aunt named Hawa Auma, his father’s sister, who ekes out a living selling coal on the streets of a small village in Kenya. She says she would like to have her teeth fixed, but she cannot afford it. Obama hasn’t offered to help her either.
What’s going on here? Why is President Obama so hesitant to help family members in need?
A couple of years ago, George teamed up with a British journalist Damien Lewis and the two of them published George’s story in a book called “Homeland.” Yet according to Lewis, shortly before the book’s publication in America, the publisher Simon & Schuster decided to shred the entire print run, more than 20,000 copies. Lewis tried unsuccessfully to get an explanation from Simon & Schuster but to no avail. He now suspects that the White House convinced Simon & Schuster that George’s story might prove embarrassing to the president.